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Last Updated : Jun 05, 2020 03:36 PM IST | Source: PTI

Need moratorium on import of natural rubber for two years: UPASI

In a letter to the Union Commerce and Industry and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, UPASI president AL RM Nagappan said, "The NR sector has been in a crisis due to the fall in prices over the last eight years. The prices have been far below production cost, the reason being unrestricted surge in cheap imports into the country from South-East Asian regions."

PTI

The United Planters Association of Southern India (UPASI) on June 5 sought an immediate moratorium on import of natural rubber (NR) for a minimum period of two years.

In a letter to the Union Commerce and Industry and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, UPASI president AL RM Nagappan said, "The NR sector has been in a crisis due to the fall in prices over the last eight years. The prices have been far below production cost, the reason being unrestricted surge in cheap imports into the country from South-East Asian regions."

"The spread of COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown turned out to be a double whammy as NR production came to a grinding halt and the present situation is threatening the existence of the sector," he claimed.

Close

"The opening stock of NR in the country, estimated at 3.4 lakh tonnes (as on April 1, 2020), roughly translates to six months of production, which further reiterates the need to declare a moratorium on import," he said.

Also, Nagappan requested the government to introduce safeguard duty on NR import for three years after the lifting of NR import suspension which, he said, would give additional time for the domestic industry to recover from the damage caused by imports and enable the growing sector to stand on its feet.

Stating that NR import has increased from 77,762 tonne in 2008-09 to 5,82,351 tonne during 2018-19, he said imports as a percentage of production had increased from 9 percent in 2008-09 to 89.5 percent in 2018-19, while imports as a percentage of consumption increased from 8.9 percent to 48.1 percent during the corresponding period.

Four countries - Indonesia (42.2 percent), Vietnam (19.7 percent), Malaysia (10.7 percent) and Thailand (9.8 percent) - together account for 82.4 percent of the total imports during 2018-19 and the NR import percentage provides a strong case for imposing safeguard duty by the government.

Given the magnitude of crisis, it has become important on the part of the government to take a bold decision in declaring a moratorium on NR imports to protect the domestic NR sector which provides livelihood to 1.3 million growers, to maintain self-reliance on raw material and also prevent the foreign exchange outgo which was Rs 6,127.7 crore in year 2018-19, Nagappan said.
First Published on Jun 5, 2020 03:00 pm
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